• Published 3rd Apr 2014
  • 3,301 Views, 137 Comments

The Purloined Pony - Chris



When a young foal goes missing, it's up to Carrot Top to step in and save the day.

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Q&A

Questions and Answers (WARNING: may contain mild story spoilers)

Q: Why is there a Q & A section, and why should I read it?

A: It’s here to answer a few questions about the story that I didn’t know where else to address. All the questions (except this one, obviously) have been asked by readers, so I figured I’d take the opportunity to answer them here.







Q: This story is pretty neat! When are you gonna do another in this style?

A: Um, probably never. As it turns out, writing a story like this is a LOT of work, and this project devoured pretty much all my free time for more than a month. Maybe I’ll give this style of story another crack someday, but don’t wait around for #2.







Q: Have you written anything else?

A: Yup. All my pony stuff is here.

[Update: Okay, you probably could figure that out on your own. Having that there made more sense when this story was in google docs.]





GAH! Why so many links?

A: Sorry, but I didn’t really know what else to do. I’ve got so many pages I need to tie together, you know? You’ll just have to deal with it, I guess.







Q: How many different story paths are there?

A: Beats me. Lots. There are 18 unique endings, but if you added up all the different ways you can get to each of them... hundreds, probably. Of course, there’s far fewer actual story pages, so many of those paths are gonna cover a lot of the same pages.







Q: Tell me more about brownies and boggies.

A: Well, that’s not exactly a question, but since you asked nicely... Brownies are mythological creatures from the British Isles. In folklore, they are generally described as kindly household spirits, invariably male, who will do household chores at night in exchange for small gifts, usually food. They are very shy and reclusive creatures who apparently seek nothing in life save to serve. The brownies in this story are based entirely on my own memory of stories involving brownies which I was told or read as a child. I make no claims to have researched anything about brownies in historical literature or anywhere else before I started writing.

Boggies... well, I thought that they were also creatures from folklore, but when I did an internet search for them, it turned up nothing. Apparently, ‘evil brownies’ were a product of my fevered childhood imagination.

[Update: Actually, I was probably remembering some regional variant of the boggart. Thanks to Marc for catching the similarity!]






Q: Where did you get the words Ceanntighern and Bhrùnaidh-mòd from?

A: They’re Scots Gaelic for “Head Lord” and “Brownie Assembly,” respectively (though in modern parlance, mòd refers specifically to gaelic musical festivals). Since the brownie legends come from Scotland and northern England, it seemed an appropriate language to use for their ‘strange, guttural tongue.’







Q: So a book you liked as a child was Inside UFO 54-40, huh...

A: Yup. And if you know what that probably means about this story, good for you! Now don’t spoil it for the other readers!



Q: Louis Ponyet? Really?

A: Hey, I thought it was funny. Who cares if no-one else gets it (what are they teaching kids in school these days?) Besides, if Faust can have ‘Filly-delphia,’ then I can have ‘Louis Ponyet.’






Q: Why didn’t you describe the appearance of the brownies/boggies in more detail? I really want to know what they look like!

A: Conservation of detail. Also, its really hard to dump information in CYOA stories; you always run the risk of readers either finding a path that lets them skip the exposition and then being confused later, or one which makes them read the same long, detailed description twice. The important thing is that we can all agree that they’re small humanoids; the reader is free to imagine the rest however they please.







Q: Yeah, but I want to know how YOU think they look.

A: Alright, but let’s get two things clear: first, you’re still welcome to envision them however you like. When you read, you’re supposed to use your imagination, after all. Second, I make no claim that the following descriptions have any historical basis; see my comments about brownies in folklore above.

Brownies are small humanoids, about 6 inches tall. They have squat, spindly legs and arms, ending in disproportionately large hands and feet. Although this gives them the appearance of being awkward and clumsy, they are remarkably fast and agile. Their heads are about twice as wide as they are tall, often wider than their shoulders. They have large, gaping mouths which stretch nearly from one side of their face to the other, and narrow-set eyes topped by heavy brows. The nose of a brownie is little more than a nub when he’s young, but grows throughout his life; elderly brownies have long and spindly, but still very thin and narrow, noses.

At the sides of a brownie’s head sit two large, pointed ears. These ears stick almost straight up, and are often gnarled and irregular. A brownie’s forehead is small and heavily lined. Atop his head sits a small tuft of hair (the only hair they sport above their necks, for brownies never grow beards or mustaches no matter their age), usually jet-black and straight. Despite their predilection for cleanliness, brownies seem to have immense trouble keeping their hair neat; brownie hair quickly takes on the appearance of an impenetrable rat’s nest. As a result, most brownies chose to wear flat caps when going about their work.

There is no doubt that the brownie is, by human standards (and presumably pony standards as well) an ugly creature, but its comforting demeanor and ever-present smile leave no doubt as to its benevolence. They always dress simply, in leather shoes and pants, with buttonless vests and, of course, their flat caps. They seem to prefer earth-tones, but the coloration of their clothing varies from brownie to brownie.

Boggies appear physically identical to their kin, but there is no mistaking the malice of the creatures. Where the brownie will always be smiling and laughing, the boggie grumps and glowers. The closest he gets to a smile is the malicious leer he wears when he knows he’s about to do something wicked. Boggies despise work, and will wear whatever they can force others to make for them. If they have no slaves or servants to make clothing for them, they’ll dress in animal skins.







Q: There’s something else I want to know! How should I ask it?

A: Okay, I made this question up too. Anyway, you could just ask your question in the comments, or send me a PM if that's more your style. If you need to e-mail me for some reason, you can e-mail me at madethisjusttopostponies@gmail.comThanks again for reading!

-Chris

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Comments ( 30 )

4179054 You'll get that a lot!

Yay! This stories finally on fimfic!

Good ending on the first try. Nailed it!

This was a good one... glad to see it on Fimfiction.

I remember this story! This is excellent fun!

Yay, finally on FIMFic! I re-read the whole thing to get all the chapters marked read, and it's as well-done as I remember.

Kind of a shame that FIMFic bans the CYOA format now. I guess they were getting too much crap burying the little gems like this.

EDIT: See below

I remember reading this when it first came out on EQD. Good times. I fucked up so many times. But it was fun. :heart:

Yay! I remember reading this on EGD a while back, so good to see that it's here now~ :ajsmug::heart:

4180395
None. I picked some choices, didn't lie to Fluttershy's little friend, and made more logical choices.

Well done!
...I'm kind of too tired for any deeper analysis.

YAY FOR ME!

All hail my glorious carrots!:rainbowwild:

Thank you, all of you, for the wonderful reaction! It's nice to see that people are still enjoying this story after so long.


4179701

Do they really? I looked through the submission guidelines before I started importing this, and didn't see anything about CYOAs.

That's a shame, but at the same time... I can see the mods getting buried under a wave of "here's chapter one of my second-person story, tell me what I should write next!"-type things, and not wanting any more to do with them.

4182580

It always bugged me in the CYOA books that picking a fight had basically a 0% success rate--if you saw an option like "attack the guards," "free the prisoner by force," or "fight the robot," it was just about guaranteed that it would lead you straight to a bad end.

So, when I put this sucker together, I made sure to include at least one ending where (show-tone) violence is the answer. Granted, you have to earn those hoofticuffs, but it wouldn't be satisfying otherwise, would it?

RBDash47
Site Blogger

4182676
I'm going to laugh really hard if this gets removed for some kind of rule violation, after all the effort it took to bring it here.

I'll definitely feel bad about laughing though

4182676 4182720
:twilightoops: … I stand corrected. I could have sworn that was in the story submission guidelines, but I just checked not only the FAQ page, but also archive.org's copy of the FAQ page as far back as 2012, and also Equestria Daily's story submission guidelines (current and past). There's no mention of CYOAs absolutely anywhere. (Which is good!)

I have no idea whatsoever where I got that notion from. I think I jumped timelines again.

This story is awesome. One thing I´m wondering: Are CYOA-Stories really forbidden here? I hope not. One: I like this story and I enjoy stories like this anyway. Two: I´m also searching for some CYOA-Stories here and hardly find one. Three: I don´t really see a reason why something like this should be forbidden. But I don´t want to spam this comment-box with something like that.

Just want to make sure you know that I enjoyed your story very much (and it felt satisfying when I selected the second-in-command to the new king. Agressive negotiations I would say. :ajsmug:)

One of my old favourites. Good to see that this finally made it here.

4182886

No, you couldn't have. I remember that rule too.

They must have just removed it.

4182886
I think it was mentioned in a site blog post once, but apparently not made official. I also thought they were banned.

It might have been only the comment-driven stories which were banned/frowned upon.

Incredibly well put-together. I'm seriously bowled over.

Also, this has to be the oldest story on fimfic now. April/May 2011?! Wow.

I'm really glad you brought this here, Chris, and I hope it gets a whole new audience of readers!

You maaaay remember me as the gentleman (and I use the term lightly) that snuck a reference to this story in Shutdown. I'm happy to be able to favorite and give this a thumbs up, and if I ever DO get around to creating the CYOA that's floating inside my head I want you to know that Purloined Pony will have inspired it! :twilightsmile:

4186579

Yeah... my initial plan when I was writing this was to have branching riddles, but it was just far too unwieldy and didn't flow well. I ended up cutting it down to a straight path rather than excise it entirely. I wish I'd been able to make something a bit more interactive work there, but I think what I settled on is at least functional.


4189170

I may, in fact, have noticed. I may also have suffered a spontaneous attack of the warm fuzzies. If you ever manage to bang that CYOA out, you can be sure I'll read it!

4194753
You can make her angry in this story?:rainbowhuh:

4196084
Mmh.
Fluttershy is actually how I proceeded to my win.

4213163
4214213
4214634

Three years later, and I still don't seem to have tracked down every mistake... or perhaps I just made some new ones getting it over here. Either way, thank you for catching those! I'll go clean them up now.

Okay, time to post my thoughts about the story as a whole. I liked it, my own complaint is their could be a bit more variety in the endings (well, and that you can't choose the riddle answers, though that gives me ideas for the future about using FIMfiction's password-locking feature of chapters), otherwise very well written and structured. It's got just the right amount of humor to keep it entertaining without detracting from the story, and overall it was really clever. It's quite different from a normal CYOA though, both in terms of content and structure it seems more focused. The old CYOA have very wild branching paths and are quite fantastic in nature, sometimes leading to endings which contradict each other. Here the endings are much more tame, and it all focuses on the same plot with Applebloom and the boggies, but it's also a lot more consistent. The graphology is also a lot more complex than in other CYOAs, most are just a simple tree going down, here it loops around and different choices open up other choices, making it a lot more interesting. I'm thinking about making an even more complex pony CYOA, which keeps track of money, time, and harmony as well as other events that have happened, though I think it's too complex to make on my own. Great job, it was a very entertaining read.

4185131 Pretty sure it's something along those lines, it was another type of story that was banned, and you can seem various types of banned stories in the rules.

This story made me smile. A lot. In fact I'd say I enjoyed it more than the actual Choose Your Own Adventure books I read as a kid since it felt like the story was playing fair rather than just changing the rules to screw you over. (Though I think it's weird that the party is still all about CT even in the Pinkie Pie route since Pinkie could have saved the day by herself). I like that most of the paths lead to happy endings if you don't do something stupid, and that even the few unhappy endings are pony-friendly and stop with you trapped and helpless rather than dead.

I also like how so many of the paths overlap and are differentiated mostly by who you have helping you at the time. It really lends the feeling of them helping you rather than just being thrown into different situations in which you may or may not have people with you. Also was amused to see the exactly one good ending in which you physically attack a boggie, especially since it was one of the last ones I got.

Full review here: I had a wonderful time with this, despite CYOA not being something that was as huge in the UK back then. A lovely homage in style, tone and content. Faved!

This Story was really great. Not only is my favorite background pony the protagonist but reading a story about her in a real book makes a huge difference. Thank you so much for publishing The Purloined Pony on Ponyfeather Publishing (Link). I woud have loved to bye books at Bronycon but since I live in Germany went to Galacon instead.

To the paperback:
I really liked the first and last pages of the book. It was a nice Idea to make it look like an equestrian book. Reading pre words from fool etc..
Another great part were the many illustrations through the story. Seeing them from time to time makes the story definitely even more enjoyable. :coolphoto:

To the story:
I read nearly all of the endings (I probably missed a few since do not have the already read feature from fimfiction). The last branch I read was about the brownies. So I nearly missed one of the more interesting part of the stories.

Summary:
The book was definitely worth buying. And since it only costs 3.5$ (excluding shipping) it is probably the best price performance ratio I have ever bought, in terms of mlp fanfictions. (I currently own 25 mlp fan fictions books).

5 out of 5 Stars :raritywink:

9826105
Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much! I have to redirect all your praise of the physical version, though, to the wonderful RBDash47--as much as writing this was a labor of love for me, assembling the wonderful paperback you bought was a labor of love for him. Thanks for the comment, and I'll let him know you enjoyed it!

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